How do you play in the rain

Claim to fame: it's the biggest walnut tree in the UK - measured by arm stretches in April rain.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. Any ideas to share about playing out in the rain?  For more info about parenting see my book Homemade Kids, or for my website click here 

It’s raining hard. Nell and I are walking slowly up a London hill. She’s wheeling my heavily-loaded bike on the pavement, and I’m staggering under her vast cello which needs to be sheltered by my umbrella.

At the brow of the hill our way is blocked by a little boy just out of nursery. He’s dressed in a yellow sou’wester and blue wellies. He’s also just seen a puddle which he runs towards, despite his mum yelling stop. Nell and I are too weighed down to move, so that when he  leaps two-legged into the puddle a tsunami rears up soaking us both.

Thankfully we both roar with laughter – seeing the little boy so delighted by the adventures that April showers can bring even in this big city where we live. And because we’re happy, his mum calms down too.

Seven things to do when it’s raining

  1. Jump in puddles
  2. Jump over puddles
  3. Make the dog walk through puddles
  4. Try sailing reed boats (or floating matches) on a puddle
  5. Go to the playground and enjoy zero queues
  6. Make a mud slide
  7. Hide in a den (or shed) and listen to the rain. Squeezing under a buggy raincover or just making use of your brolly are good alternatives.

If you’re getting flustered by the low pressure (ie, rain) then dress as if you are going to get wet, in case you meet a toddler puddle seeking.

Child-sized brollies are a genius invention – they fit into backpacks, don’t blow away in squalls and dry out faster than bigger versions.

Purpose to being indoors
During one big rain storm Nell and I offered to do an hour’s campaigning for the Green party and the Mayoral election, not much, but something. You may only be allowed to vote when you are 18, but there’s plenty of campaigning skills to learn about whatever your age. Whatever your politics I’m sure there will be a time when you have to stuff envelopes and want another pair of hands to help you... If so try telling an adventure story that gives everyone a chance to develop the plot, and kill off the characters. Nell has been reading Little Women, and is really good at making crazy stories – she reckons you need a hero (our special lady was Rosemary Caroll) plus walk-on parts from evil trolls, fireworks in the hair, cruel tutors, no sense of gravity etc.

The madder the story the more laughter you’ll get.  And the faster time will go…

We enjoyed ourselves, but I was touched to see this note on Facebook later on from the woman we were helping to campaign for saying: “Special thanks to Nicola who invented a wonderful story telling game with Nell, 11, and Eliza, 12, using names from the mail-merged letters. Added a gloriously, creative and somewhat surreal soundtrack to the afternoon.”

More to the point it got two more people helping out.

Over to you
What do you do to encourage children to join in or help you with life tasks? Believe me, I could do with some more ideas – the election campaigning work isn’t over until 3 May!

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2 Comments on “How do you play in the rain”

  1. My children like to help me with filing! I’m not very good at keeping up to date with my filing at home, so a pile soon builds up and if we find ourselves stuck for something to do indoors for an hour we tackle the filing pile. I give them each specific instructions like:
    – Find all the bank statements, sort them into date order, hole punch them and put them in that file.
    Also, they can do associated tasks like checking debit card receipts against amounts on bank statements, and then shredding them, they love shredding!
    It helps me, and it’s good learning for them.

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